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Friday, September 4, 2009

Mattel exempted from toy safety law it helped write

Toymaker Mattel has been given an exemption from a federal toy-safety regulation it helped create. My column tells the story and draws some lessons.
When regulation turns into a boon for the biggest businesses in an industry being regulated--which is often--commentators decry the "capture" of the regulatory body. Indeed, Mattel is much more likely to get the ear of toy-safety bureaucrats than is the independent artisan. But these regulations are often "captured" before they are even passed into law.

Remember, Mattel lobbied for this bill, and the Toy Industry Association said "we were early proponents of adopting mandatory laws to require toy testing." Hasbro, the second-biggest toy-maker behind Mattel, hired lobbyists for the first time in its history in order to back the CPSIA.

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